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Softball off to best start in nearly a decade after 13-0 win against Santa Clara

Freshman Taylor Gindlesperger recorded the team’s third grand slam this season

Freshman Taylor Gindlesperger (above) hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth to extend Stanford's lead to 13-0 in Tuesday's shutout victory against Santa Clara. (JOHN P. LOZANO/isiphotos.com)

After back-to-back games were cancelled in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, Stanford softball (28-6) finally got the ball rolling again with a shutout performance against Santa Clara (8-26) on Tuesday evening. The Cardinal scored 13 runs on 15 hits, including a grand slam from freshman Taylor Gindlesperger at Santa Clara’s SCU Softball Stadium.

Tuesday’s win solidifies Stanford’s best start since the 2010 team opened the season 29-5 through 34 games.

The Cardinal offense wasted no time, unloading three runs in the first inning. After freshman utility Emily Klingaman and junior center Montana Dixon both drew walks, senior infielder Whitney Burks doubled to left field to bring them both home, recording the first two runs of the game. Burks would go on to score an unearned run after junior outfielder Hannah Howell reached on an error by the pitcher, extending the Cardinal lead to 3-0. Howell was then caught stealing third, concluding the first frame.

Senior Carolyn Lee got the start on the mound for the Cardinal, allowing only two hits and a walk over 2.1 innings. It was a 1-2-3 first inning for Stanford, as Lee put away the Broncos in order.

In the second frame, junior utility Teaghan Cowles stepped up with a two-out RBI triple, driving home freshman utility Emily Schultz, who reached on a single. A Klingeman ground out would leave Cowels on base.

The Broncos opened the bottom of the second with a single to the left side from Hannah Russell, the first hit of the game for Santa Clara. A few batters later, Lee found herself walking Santa Clara’s Lauren Schieck to bring freshman Allyson Ferreira to the plate with two-outs, bases loaded. Ferreira would strikeout swinging, keeping the Cardinal shutout alive.

Stanford’s offense exploded over the following two innings. In the top of the third, Dixon hit a solo home run, extending the lead to 5-0. Eight pitches later, Burks walked to first before advancing to third on a double from freshman Emily Young. Schultz ripped a triple to center field, scoring two more runs, while Gindlesperger and Klingeman each recorded an RBI single. The frame concluded with the Cardinal up 9-0.

The Broncos found their second and last hit of the game in the bottom of the third, before a groundout and double play closed the inning.

In the fourth inning, Gindlesperger, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs scores and five RBIs, blasted a homer to right field with the bases loaded, recording the team’s third grand slam of the season and first of her career. The Cardinal would gather two more hits before the inning concluded.

Sophomore Maddy Dwyer, who took over after 2.1 innings, pitched through the rest of the third and the entire fourth inning, giving up no hits or runs. Freshman pitcher Molly Millar took over in the fifth, securing the shutout for the Cardinal. Dwyer claimed the victory, improving her record to 10-4 on the season.

The game was called after five innings due to the mercy rule, giving Stanford it’s second straight victory. The Cardinal is slated to return to the diamond on Friday at 7:00 p.m. to host a three-game series against Utah (13-24).

Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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